Tax bills delayed and larger in Butler County: Your questions answered

Butler County taxpayers will soon be receiving their property tax bills and some will have “sticker shock,” officials say.

County Auditor Roger Reynolds was required by law to reassess all properties countywide last year. The average value increase is 14.5% but increases vary by neighborhood according to recent sales data.

Here’s what you need to know:

Who will be impacted by the property value adjust?

Generally, increased property values do not translate to higher tax bills unless a jurisdiction alters an existing levy or asks voters to approve a new levy. The Ohio Constitution provides that no more than 1% of its true value or 10 mills — 20 mills for schools — of the assessed value can be increased without voter approval.

Residents in Hamilton and West Chester Twp. will see the largest impact because new levies for roads and safety services respectively, were passed last year. A few Hamilton residents told the Journal-News their bills went up more than $800.

The Hamilton and Ross school districts also made adjustments, moving inside millage from their general funds to permanent improvements to take advantage of the value increase.

How much are taxes going up?

Butler County Treasurer Nancy Nix, who bills and collects but does not assess taxes, billed taxpayers $521.8 million in 2020 and will bill $565.7 million this year in two installments. Delinquent tax bills are not included in the totals.

That is an 8.4% increase ($43.8 million) because of the reassessment, new levies in two jurisdictions and school millage moves.

Why would property values be adjusted during the uncertainty of a pandemic?

Under state law, property in all counties is reappraised every six years, and property values are updated every third year. Butler County was among 13 Ohio counties required to reappraise last year.

The state tax commissioner can approve delay requests for up to one year on six-year reappraisals. Reynolds requested a delay so he could better gauge the impact of the pandemic. State Tax Commissioner Jeffrey McClain denied the request.

“Extensions of time to complete reappraisals have historically been limited to instances in which it was impossible for counties to complete the sexennial reappraisal in the reappraisal year,” McClain wrote to Reynolds. “In no circumstances has the extension operated to change the reappraisal year. Here the auditor has noted in his request that the reappraisal work is nearing completion. In light of this, there is no cause shown to grant an extension.”

If the state mandated an average 20% value hike, why aren’t bills going up that much?

Reynolds filed an appeal to keep the values at his levels and has a hearing scheduled for September. Until then, tax bills had to be calculated, so Reynolds’ rates were used. Next year could be different.

“The state’s rates will go into effect, what we are uncertain of is the timing of that,” Reynolds said. “We just simply don’t know.”

What can you do if you think your property was valued incorrectly?

Residents can contest their tax bills through the Butler County Board of Revisions until March 31 and the application link can be found here:

Values in the Middletown area went up higher than other areas. Why?

Lemon Twp. saw the largest value hike by far at 32.1% and Middletown went up around 25%. Reynolds faced a similar dilemma during the Great Recession. He was forced to reappraise properties in 2008. He was able to go back in 2009 and adjust the numbers to more realistic levels. Middletown was one of the hardest areas and he readjusted accordingly.

“Middletown values went up a decent amount this time around,” Reynolds said. “Middletown over the last 12 years saw when the Great Recession hit, we reduced Middletown’s property values more than any other in the county because they saw the hardest impact from the downturn in the economy. Over time we’re continued to increase those Middletown values up to current market.”

Property value increase by jurisdiction:

Municipality 2020 total property value % increase
Fairfield $2,021,930,240 18.0%
Fairfield Twp. $1,510,829,700 16.2%
Hamilton $1,959,473,810 15.5%
Hanover Twp. $609,476,310 11.5%
Lemon Twp. $46,418,490 32.1%
Liberty Twp. $3,621,495,000 15.2%
Madison Twp. $539,922,510 16.5%
Middletown $1,421,913,910 24.9%
Milford Twp. $321,548,790 11.5%
Monroe $907,939,810 18.0%
Morgan Twp. $507,586,510 10.1%
New Miami $54,625,460 26.8%
Oxford $630,725,060 13.8%
Oxford Twp. $266,351,860 11.6%
Reily Twp. $293,284,700 11.6%
Ross Twp. $703,712,450 10.8%
Sharonville $119,820,610 10.1%
St. Clair Twp. $243,065,580 17.6%
Trenton $556,424,570 14.9%
Wayne Twp. $386,943,330 12.3%
West Chester Twp. $4,446,355,990 14.7%

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